The New Indian Express

Art Goes Green

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Artists are making a case for sustainability and bringing the cause of the environment to the forefront by adopting green ways.

Artists often find inspiration in nature and perhaps it is this ethos that is now spiraling a slow but sure movement where art itself is becoming natural and eco-conscious.

Leading Korean pop artist, Choi Jeong Hwa uses recycled materials like old banners and commercial plastic containers as a way for people to think about consumption and mass production. Likewise, US Chinese artist Cui Fei uses foraged vines, twigs and tendrils to create manuscripts that depict the link between nature and humans. American artist Chris Maynard uses bird plumage, primarily feathers ethically sourced or discarded by birds to create his works of art.

Closer home, artist Walter Dsouza sees material for his artwork as a unique and open medium. He uses marine ply for example, of which there is no dearth of supply and the possibilities are seemingly endless, allowing one to explore freely in a playful manner. He tries to find multiple uses for his work, especially by reusing them in different formats. Recycling and reimagining add another layer to his vision that helps him create deeply meaningful pieces. He believes that all things can be reused and repurposed.

Likewise, artist Shakuntala Kulkarni prefers to use materials such as cane in her artwork as it is organic and versatile, and she prefers to collaborate with local artisans. In her day-to-day life she has preserved her grandmother’s tradition of making quilts out of old clothes and is careful and mindful of her consumption habits and makes it a habit to spend time with elders and immerse herself in oral history, which is an important aspect in the larger narrative of sustainability.

And taking cue from this, is the Art of Sustainability, part of ‘Art X’ digital series by the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art be accessible on all KNMA social media platforms from July 2021. Aiming to explore the cross section of art with other aspects of life, this online offering seeks to demystify art and open the conversation to all who are interested.

Kiran Nadar, Chairperson, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art says, “sustainability is something that is important to all of us as we look to preserve our planet for future generations. As we work towards ingraining it in all aspects of our life, we wanted to explore how this plays out in relation to art. While filming the series, we have had conversations on what sustainability looks like to different individuals, every small step makes a difference. Reducing the consumption of resources can mean basic things like reusing canvases, using nontoxic, organic paint, reusable water bottles, recycling waste and other simple steps.”

Artists with Green Fingers

  • Thailand based Pannaphan Yodmanee uses rocks, minerals and concrete discards that she paints and reconstructs in abstract forms inspired by Buddhist philosophy and hopes people think of flux and fluidity of life. 
  • Justin Brice Guariglia is an American artist whose works have documented the rapid decline in Greenland’s ice sheets as well as showcased the reality of rising sea levels.
  • French artist Camille Thibert ‘earth works’ use reclaimed wood as a medium that she hopes will throw light on the vulnerability of nature.
  • Nigerian-based artist El Anatsui creates art with scrap materials like bottle caps, discarded seals, wood and ceramics fragments to raise the message of zero waste and recycling.

Read the full story that first appeared in The New Indian Express dated July 18, 2021 here:

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